Australia Open 2016 Shooting For One Million Spectators

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Copyright © 2015. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

Although the four Grand Slam tournaments maintain a unity as one cohesive body, there is a distinct game of one-upmanship in the build up to each event. And while the Australian Open cannot compete with its’ three cousins when it comes to magnitude of prize money, the southern hemisphere major is confident that next January it will be the first to top one million spectators at a single tournament.

The tournament has long been billed the Grand Slam of Asia and the Pacific, and a new partnership with the currently ongoing Shanghai Rolex Masters has been announced. It means a potential 185 million live TV audience, which translates into a 47 per cent increase with half the worldwide audience actually being in the region.

Melbourne’s citizens have long been revered for turning up en masse for any kind of sporting event but it will take a significant increase in attendance for the turnstiles to tick into seven figures.

This year’s Australian Open, which unusually extended into February, attracted 703,899 spectators but once again there are plans to expand tournament facilities. In addition there is a 10 per cent increase in prize money, increasing the total AU$44 million (US$32.1 million).

Speaking in the Chinese section of a joint tournament launch, held in both Melbourne and Shanghai, Tennis Australia’s commercial director Richard Heaselgrave adopted a confident voice when he said: “The PR people will hate me for saying this, but the Australian Open is hoping to be the first grand slam to target a million guests.”

While the legal battles to extend the French Open’s site at Roland Garros continue, the Australian Open will almost effortlessly expand its borders down the banks of the River Yarra towards the city’s Central Business District and so become the world’s largest tennis event in terms of area.

Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley announced a range of initiatives guaranteed to make next year’s event bigger and better than ever for both fans and players.

“Continual innovation and always pushing the boundaries to present the best possible experience for our players and our fans is what the Australian Open is all about,” Tiley said in Melbourne today.

“We also look forward to honoring Lleyton Hewitt as he prepares for his 20th and final Australian Open appearance, and I’m delighted to announce today he will be awarded a wildcard for 2016.”

Copyright © 2015. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.